The final film I saw at the Leeds International Film Festival was Kyoto Animation’s ‘A Silent Voice‘. A Silent Voice is quite an anticipated film in the Western anime scene, as of writing this it is on as many people’s MALs as Girls Und Panzer (which isn’t far behind Yuri On Ice!) despite it only having been available to a tiny fraction of that number. I do not have the data to give an accurate reason ‘why’ this is the case, though it being a Kyoto Animation movie of a popular manga is almost certainly A Thing (It being Naoko Yamada directed film, whilst important, is not something I’d think matters to most people).
A common flaw in personality tests is that they tend to engage in a kind of ‘cold reading‘. The ‘answers’ they give are just the answers you gave it, given a small spin, and focusing on the positive – or what it believes you’d consider the positive – traits that you informed the test you had. When in actuality people, and fictional characters, tend to be a blend of positive, negative and even neutral traits. We all have our weaknesses. The phrase ‘Mary Sue’ is, at least allegedly, a criticism to say that the writer wrote a character with solely positive traits thus making them unrelatable and therefore bad. Scum’s Wish does the opposite. Scum’s Wish defines it’s characters almost entirely by their negative traits. How it does this, I feel, is what makes it brilliant.
I’m not a fan of mecha.
If you’d asked me what I thought about Gundam a year or so ago that’s probably what I would have responded with. Yes, I appreciate Neon Genesis Evangelion and Bokurano (at least up to the tonal change) but these few mech shows I liked often had something very different to them. They weren’t the kinds of shows I thought of when you say “mech”. They weren’t a narrative designed to maximise action sequences, and they weren’t incredibly machismo. I never finished Gunbuster, or started Diebuster (I should rectify this someday). Nor did I finish Gurren Lagann, or felt I was particularly missing out by not doing so. So when my Anime Society finally voted in Gundam Build Fighters after a friend of mine had been trying to sell it to us for a year I wasn’t particularly excited.
Over Summer I made the, arguably bad, decision to play the fangame ‘Pokemon Uranium‘. This was, in part, due to me not having played a Pokemon game in about 10 years and being very interested in the slow reveal of info about Pokemon Sun and Moon. In many respects Pokemon Uranium was an impressive fanwork, though ultimately, it was a game that was messy at best. As Pokemon Sun and Moon has now come out, and I have finished the main story of Moon, I think it’s well worth me looking at how Pokemon Sun and Moon compares to Pokemon Uranium, as I believe there is some overlap in how both of them use the standard Pokemon formula (as I know it).
In my previous hectic and stressful Autumn term I somehow managed to attend the Leeds International Festival for their animation day. Opening with the first two Kizumonogatari movies, ending with A Silent Voice and chock full of interesting and unique films in between it was quite the day. Since I never got round to finishing the article I began about that day, I think it’s fair to talk a lil about it over these 12 Days. Starting with Kizumonogatari.
(The following will contain base plot spoilers for the first and second Kizumonogatari movies. It will also contain more detailed spoilers of certain scenes involving Araragi and Hanekawa.)
Last Sunday I attended the UK’s first Gundam convention: G Con. I’ve attended and worked at small anime conventions before, but attending an even nicher one was a new experience of mine. Gundam, is a franchise stemming from the 80s. Inspired by Star Wars, the original series revolved around a bunch of civilians and children struggling in a messy war. This single series exploded into the long-lasting and far-reaching franchise it is today due to two main things: firstly, the original series featured some hot pretty-boys with homoerotic overtones, and secondly, the plastic kits released that let people make figures of the various mecha that feature in the show.
As this season of anime draws to a close I find it easy to lose sight of just how great it was. As I inevitably fall behind on shows Which Are Good But Not That Good, and even shows that are nailing everything can end up lost in my Crunchyroll queue, it is pretty easy to instead look to the next season and hype up how good that is looking. Despite that, I’d still be inclined to say this season, like those before it, has been wonderful. Anime is good, no matter what Miyazaki memes may suggest. However, it is relatively easy to be disappointed in even a good show. After an entire season of a show there will inevitably be episodes that stand out, be they good or bad. The ‘3 Episode Rule’ may be incredibly reductive but it is an influential rule that many follow. And because of that, it can also be quite easy to see people calling shows which didn’t start strong bad, even if later on it had some great episodes. So this week, I’d like to posit my own ‘rule’, if you could even call it that. It isn’t a rule that protects your time, nor is it a rule that ensures you only watch Good Anime. Instead, it’s how I try, even with shows that are disappointing me, to find some greatness.